The Trade Organization Questions the Classification of “Gaming Disorder” as an Addiction
UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), a trade organization for the UK’s games and entertainment industry, came out on Thursday against the plans of the World Health Organization (WHO) to formalize “gaming disorder” as an addiction by creating a new classification for the said disorder. The trade body claims that an upcoming scientific report casts doubt on whether “gaming disorder” should be classified as an addiction.
UKIE, along with a group of 36 experts that included mental health experts, social scientists and academics, oppose the WHO’s plan, with UKIE CEO Dr. Jo Twist calling the action “unnecessary”.
“It is clear that there remains significant opposition from the scientific community to the WHO’s proposed position on a ‘gaming disorder,'” Twist argued. “We join them and others from the global games sector in calling for the WHO to consider the evidence and concerns presented in this new paper and to stop the unnecessary inclusion of this classification.”
“Worldwide opposition to the WHO’s controversial and unproven classification of ‘Gaming Disorder’ continues to grow,” said Simon Little, the CEO of Interactive Software Federation Europe, a representative organization for the European games industry.
“The WHO’s process lacks transparency, is deeply flawed, and lacks objective scientific support. We urge this process to be halted,” Little said.
The WHO defines “gaming disorder” as a “pattern of gaming behavior (‘digital-gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
However, the report that opposes the WHO’s plan claims that there is still much confusion surrounding the definition of “gaming disorder”.
“Much confusion remains – even among authors supporting the diagnosis – regarding what, exactly, gaming disorder is,” the report states.
“We agree that there are some people whose play of video games is related to life problems,” the report’s abstract section reads. “We believe that understanding this population and the nature and severity of the problems they experience should be a focus area for future research. However, moving from research construct to formal disorder requires a much stronger evidence base than we currently have.”
The report is set to be published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, which is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that studies behavioral addictions.
So gamers, what do you think? Do you think that this disorder is real or is this just an overreaction to people playing games a little too much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!